Sunday, August 30, 2009

My favorite iPod app of the summer!

A recent download of Cartoonize Me (by Portegno Apps) made me want to share it with all of you who have never heard of this fun app!  (Obviously these apps work on iPhones too but I'm not cool enough to own one yet... sticking with my iPod Touch for now.)

This app cost me $0.99 and is very entertaining! Basically, you can turn your photos into cartoons with fun graphics like clothes, accessories, catchphrases or other silly items.

See for yourself...


(I'll upload some pics I've played around with eventually! Still learning the ins and outs of the app. Also, fyi - this post may be a bit belated as the app perhaps reached
its peak of popularity last Christmas. It was also nominated for a "2008 Best App Ever Award" last year.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

BING!

Bing, bing, bing! What's all the fuss about Microsoft's new Bing.com? It doesn't look like such an amazing site (some pretty photographs and a few simple search topics to choose from like Images, Videos and Shopping)... but it's the commercials that led me there in the first place, so I guess I should talk about those!

The first ad I saw, "Search Overload Is Over" was a general explanation of the need for a more targeted search engine (and the only 60 second spot I've seen for Bing). It explains, "We don't need queries and keywords if they're bringing back questions and confusion" ...good point. "You need the right information to make the right decisions," it says. "It's time to 'BING!'" is a catchy tag and the bing noise luckily isn't irritating (since these ads are being played constantly). Apparently, "It's not just a search engine, it's the first ever decision engine." More about these decisions later. My favorite two ads (for the Bing Search Overload Syndrome campaign) are "Cell Phone" and "Hawaii" (below). Others can be found on Bing's YouTube page.




My favorite part of "Hawaii" is the part when the guy says "Talk live with hot singles in your area. They're waiting..." and the wife asks, "Who's waiting?!" And I like "Cell Phone" because the acting is better than some of the others and of course, because of the mention of Mom jeans and "Moms who wear jeans to match their teens' jeans" which I found really funny. When I asked a friend if she'd heard of Bing.com, she said no, until I reminded her of the commercials and the "mom jeans" bit was the first memory she had of the ads.

The repetition may annoy some people but I think the ads get straight to the point, asking the question, "
What has search overload done to us?" Obviously, from what the ads tell me, it's driven people crazy.

Maybe the coolest part of Bing that I've found is their travel "Price Predictor" which features "Farecast Technology" that tells you . There are some restrictions, however, such as the Price Predictor only being available for round trip, economy flights (visit the Technology section for more details). Overall, it reminds me a whole lot of Kayak.com. with the Price Predictor being the only exception... still interesting though and as expected, there's a commercial to go with it.

Want to find out more about Bing? Visit YouTube for clips from CNN and InternetRiot or visit the Bing Tour Page where you can preview what your searches might look like (and allegedly find out how many calories you burned just by visiting the site.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sprint's Now Network ads

Having changed the title of my blog to "Homadge," I decided to re-focus my attention to mainly the positive aspects of ads and commercials that catch my attention. That said, I think some of Sprint's Now Network ads are pretty cool (and original). The campaign can be found on Sprint's YouTube page. If I had to choose one favorite, it would be: "What's Happening," the first ad I saw of the television campaign (also the only 60 second ad I've seen). I like the simple focus on phones and also on technologies that most people can recognize like Google, YouTube and Twitter (except the 26% of people who saw that ad on TV apparently!). The commercial's easy to understand and I think it was the statistics and the art direction that caught my eye in the first place. 

 
I also liked "Calling Mom" and the tie-in with the word "now" towards the end before the tag. The Now Network landing page is also really creative... there's so much to do (and listen to)! And I found out my body just made 50 million new cells... who knew?! I'm not so happy about all the new cases of malaria, however. I like the webcams of the White House, Boston Aquarium and Niagra Falls. And the traffic analysis and the milk vs. soda consumption analysis. See for yourself - here's a screenshot:
Finally, I wanted to share a flashback to my first discussion about the new Prius commercials (from one of my favorite websites)...
FYI: Furbelow = 1. A pleated or gathered flounce on a woman's garment; a ruffle. 2. Something showy or superfluous; a bit of showy ornamentation (Dictionary.com).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to blogging... first "ads I like" post!

I'm back! And I've been wanting to share the Prius (3rd generation) "Harmony" ad for ages. I love this ad! The art direction, the music, the people flowers, the people grass, the people clouds. I adore every part of it and don't mind at all that the song gets stuck in my head constantly. It is beautifully done and the message is simple.
 

 
COPY: "You get more power and more space. The world gets fewer smog-forming emissions. The third generation Prius. It's harmony: between man, nature and machine."
MUSIC: Petra Haden, performing an acoustic version of the song "Let Your Love Flow."

Toyota also posted a video on their YouTube page about how the commercial was created (by
John Toon, Director of Photography and Japanese director, Mr. Hide). Knowing some Japanese, I found the subtitles to be slightly inaccurate. Part of what Mr. Hide was trying to emphasize about the ad is that the ad represents an "intense feeling made by human beings existing together."

If I had to choose my favorite part, it would be the costumes... they are fantastic! And apparently, the designers only had to come up with 9 different costumes for the 200 extras. The grass that follows the vehicle is beautiful and I'm also really drawn to the sun and the waterfall (both of which can be seen in greater detail in the similar Prius "MPG" ad
.) In both Prius ads, the message is clear: Prius cars represent harmony. Driving one will help you connect with nature while protecting it. I hope to see more ads with people being used as the textures and landscapes. I don't think I've ever seen ads like these before.

Finally, speaking of things I haven't seen before, have you heard of eyeverts? Personally, I'm not a Twilight fan but for all of the die-hard British Twilight fans out there, I'm sure this guerrilla tactic is getting their attention. Even Perez Hilton took notice. And what about actual ads other people haven't seen before? Well, with all that attention that fake "Sprite" ad got, I was surprised I didn't hear about this real ad for Burger King's "Texican Whopper." This was first aired in the U.K. and Spain and there was some controversy particularly about the misrepresentation of the Mexican flag. Even if it was on display to the public on TV in the U.S., I don't think it was that big of a deal.
"The taste of Texas with a little Spicy Mexican"... I thought it was really funny!